Birds of America John James Audubon (1785-1851) was born in the French colony of Santa Domingo, later known as Haiti to a wealthy French sea captain & merchant and a young slave, Jeanne Rabin, who died six months after his birth. Early on, Audubon became passionately interested in nature, avoiding whenever possible the rigors of the French educational system by wandering in the countryside sketching & collecting.
He was sent by his father to his plantation Mill Grove in Pennsylvania possibly to avoid conscription into Napoleon's army. T he pursued his love of nature and collecting in a bountiful environment, to the detriment of the business of running his father's plantation.
His marriage in 1808 to Lucy Blackwell, an English woman and neighbor, added stability to his life. For over ten years, the family lived in Kentucky w Audubon was a frontier shopkeeper, while continuing to pursue his avocation of naturalist & artist. While t, Lucy gave birth to two sons, Victor Gifford and John Woodhouse, as well as a daughter who died in infancy. Audubon was quite successful in business for a while, but hard times hit, and in 1819 he was briefly jailed for bankruptcy. In the absence of other opportunities, Audubon launched on the life of backwoodsman, naturalist
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John James Audubon